Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cheesiest Fried Chicken Empanadas

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken, about 4 to 5 chicken breasts
1 (8-ounce) package shredded colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F, or in skillet

In a large bowl using a rubber spatula, combine the chicken, colby and Monterey cheese, cream cheese, red pepper, jalapeno, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Remove 1 pie crust from pie tin onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 15-inch circle.

Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter.

Re-roll dough as needed.

Repeat procedure with remaining pie crusts, making 12 to 15 circles total.

Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface.

Lightly brush the edges of crust with water.

Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round.

Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal.

Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture.

Place empanadas in deep-fryer for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Top with con queso dip.

Note: Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month

Chili Con Queso Dip
1 pound package Cheddar (recommended: Velveeta)
1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
2 teaspoons hot sauce
In a medium sauce pot, slowly melt Cheddar over medium/low heat. When cheese is fully melted add tomatoes, chiles, and hot sauce, stirring with spoon until combined well.
Pour cheese dip into a small casserole dish and serve as a dip for the cheesy empanadas or pour on top for a real cheesy effect.